Ereshigal

(Image: Own work)

Not to be confused with Ereshkigal, the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld, the ereshigal is a hybrid monster from Sumerian mythology. Based on a cuneiform text, the creature had the body of a fish, the hindquarters and legs of a dog, the upper body of a woman, and the head of a young goat. A cunning creature, it would lure mortals into the underworld. It lived in the underworld (Rose 114), possibly as a servant to Ereshkigal or as an earlier version of her.

Based on the evil and temptation that women often represented in folk tales, the ereshigal’s female upper body may have been included in the original text as a temptation to men as they were ushered into the underworld. The goat head may also have significance, as a stark contrast to a human body showing how monstrous the creature is.

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